The Water

The sky rolls in this morning gray, a heavy pewter color waiting to drop and the air smells wet, thick with water. Out in the garden tulips wave, their faces shut tight. The colors of their nodding heads seem brighter, more intense with this graying storm-light, the greens of new leaves and the fern-lace of sweet pea’s first growth seem deeper, more somber under the darkened sky.

I stand in front of the picture-window, cup a mug of warm coffee between my hands and gaze. I hope to see the first dark dots of rain mark my front porch, to see the stippling of wet soak into thirsty ground and sink, deep, water this garden down to the roots.

My mind drifts back, long ago to my early teenage years. I remember my grandmother, the smell of the rain at her house in the deep South. I remember the way the drops hit the red clay earth, the way they pocked the dry dust and left dimples first…then swept away the surface of the long dirt driveway, ran flowing to the pond that was hidden at the deepest part of the property, behind rows and rows of towering pines. The water picked up golden pollen as it flowed, which shimmered on the tops of puddles and tiny streams that formed for an afternoon, flowed downward, left their ragged little scars to dry into the clay to be washed away with the next downpour. The power of water, just from one rain storm! It left its mark.

Later that visit my grandmother gave me a little book, one she had saved. Its green and blue cover had traces of white waves, and its title read simply “The Water.” She said it had come on a bouquet of flowers she’d received in the hospital, secured to the stems with a rubber band. The Water was a tract, a summery of the book of Luke. It described The Living Water, the story of Jesus. I read it all, filed it away in my mind.

I kept that little book for many years, it was a piece of her and soon after that visit a stroke took her ability to speak. We never got to talk about it. It would be years before I would really understand the words in that little book and more years before I would understand the courage it took for her to give it to me.

Now, as the water starts to fall on the garden, bending flower heads of yellow, orange, pink and red, I take a moment to feel the glory, the peace, the grace in Living Water. I let the thought of it flow over me, wash through me, refresh my heart. The Word lies open on my lap and I thumb the pages eagerly, I read the words again and again, and they are new each time. I think of how the Word of God first marked me, then swept away the surface and changed me. I think of the scars cut into me by the flow of words, the way those scars are cut and covered and filled again and again. I think of how this Water runs up, pools in a place I’ll one day be. Of how it never runs dry, how it waters down to the roots and makes everything clean and new again. And peace washed over me, flows thorough, and I am thankful for the Water to the very core of me.

John 4:13-14…..Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

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